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Old 10-25-2009, 04:45 AM
Posts: n/a
Default Relationship structures, triads, unicorns and all that

So on Violet's thread I started talking a bit about how I've seen many poly-fi triads break down. In my post I was talking about how many times, being attached to only ONE relationship formation can sometimes limit it's ability to succeed. I went on to talk about something I've often seen in poly-fi triads.

I'm going to quote what I said in that post:

(this next bit might come off as an indictment against all poly-fi triads or couples seeking poly-fi triads. As with most everything in life, I know that this does not apply to ALL couples or ALL triads. I acknowledge that poly-fi triads are something that can be successful and couples can bring in a third for lots of long term happiness. I'm sure there will be couples who read this who think "Oh, that's not how it is with US" Fair enough. It may not apply to you. But I'm also willing to be that there will be a fair number of couples who think it doesn't apply to them when it does)

Honestly, when I see a couple that's new to poly and seeking a third to "complete them" or to "be an equal partner" I see a couple that feels the need to control the other love that might enter into their partner's life. It's like they're saying, "Sure, my partner can fall in love with someone else, but ONLY if I am explicitly involved so that I may have control over my partner's love and so that love will always have something to do with me too, no matter what." Now, I know this isn't always true for every couple, but I do believe it to be true for many, if not most couples that are seeking this dynamic. One need only to see the vast number of unicorns who have been burned by such situations to have an inkling that perhaps this isn't the best way to go about things. We've all heard it before and every couple seems to say the same thing. "we want you to be an equal partner in our relationship", "we just have so much love to give, we have to share it with someone else". Etc, etc. Most of them end the same way- the unicorn is cast off with burn scars and everyone is off licking their wounds. And I've yet to meet a single poly bi female who's been through this (and I've personally known quite a few) who gets up after the experience and says "Wow, I want to try that again!". This is why unicorns are so rare.
Now, again, I want to stress that I don't believe that poly-fi triads are all doomed or that they can't be wonderful fulfilling relationships for everyone involved. I do know a couple of triads that are lovely and amazing in how they carry out their relationship. But I have to admit I do a tiny little facepalm to myself every time I hear about a couple that just decided to become poly and are now looking for that third to "complete them".

I think many times, people (mono, poly and everything in between) become very invested in specific relationship outcomes. I certainly know I've done this before. But the trouble is whenever we throw our energy into building a specific relationship structure, it puts undue pressure on the relationship. It constricts the natural ways a relationship may want to develop. This particularly happens with newly formed poly-fi triads. So much pressure gets put on the relationship to be this wonderful equal partnership of three people that when something indicates that maybe that's not right for everyone, it explodes into a mess of hurt feelings and loneliness. There are other ways for relationships to succeed. Maybe the closed triad should evolve into a V of some sort, or maybe the triad should remain a triad but opening up to each member having other partners, or maybe the third needs to let go of the pressure of being equal and relax into some kind of secondary relationship...who knows? There are all sorts of ways to approach things. But if it becomes an "all or nothing" scenario, it automatically dis-allows most other outcomes that may indeed be the solution, thus creating a much larger possibility of failure.

I also think there is another piece to this. As I mentioned in the other post, I've known quite a few couples who started off in their poly lives looking for the closed poly-fi triad. Of the couples that I know personally, they are all either monogamous or open and dating separately now. The only two stable triads I know were among people who had been poly for quite some time and were already openly dating others before deciding to close their triads and be fidelitous.

I think couples who are new to opening up their relationships see the closed triad as the most secure way to open up. It's a way people can hang onto their partners and still feel a certain amount of control over their partner's love for another person. Ironically, I think it can sometimes be the most insecure way to open up as it seems to be pre-assigning a structure designed to accommodate insecurity.

I generally feel that if people try to assuage their insecurity by assigning rules and structures around them, generally it does nothing to get rid of them, but rather enables them to remain. Or as Franklin of Xeromag fame will often say- if your relationship is healthy and good, you won't need all those rules and boundaries. If your relationship is not healthy and good, extra rules and boundaries won't save it. That's not to say that some rules aren't good. We all need them for certain things. But generally, I have to wonder when couples say they're new to poly and want a third, why do they want that particular thing? Is it because it genuinely feels like the right thing or is it a way to try to get around insecurity about opening up the relationship?

Again, I know that this doesn't apply to all couples who are seeking thirds but I have seen enough of a pattern to see that it probably applies to many, even if they think it doesn't apply to them. I don't think it's inherently wrong to seek or want a closed triad like that. I'm just wondering if all are going about it for healthy reasons.

(ducking for cover now!)

Last edited by Ceoli; 10-25-2009 at 04:55 AM.
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